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Beat THIS for an answer to the question "what is a woman?"

(70 Posts)
SerfnTerf Tue 04-Apr-17 16:57:34

First answer: "A woman is someone who is identified as a woman. That's why people say it's socially constructed"

Me confused "But that's circular. There must be a definition of what a woman is for anyone to identify or be identified as one"

Second answer: "If you give any definition of a woman, there are people who you could identify as "a woman" and who anyone on the street would say - "That's a woman" - and they would not fit that definition"

So... what, we can't define woman because we can't actually define the word in a way that encompasses men? So let's not bother? I don't have enough words or brain to take that any further. Just wow.

Soubriquet Tue 04-Apr-17 17:03:48

Well guess what. That tree that's outside your window? It's a woman. I am identifying it as a woman. It shall now be known as woman and not tree

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Tue 04-Apr-17 17:07:11

Did you ask this person for a definition of man too? Because that usually seems to be solid & not up for discussion.

Great username BTW.

SerfnTerf Tue 04-Apr-17 17:11:09

The username is courtesy of DP, no credit to me on that blush (name changed as this discussion took place on a family member's Facebook and is potentially outing!)

I just keep looking at the cat and wondering if the same applies to the word cat.

ProcrastinatingSquid2 Tue 04-Apr-17 17:26:54

I wonder if it's the same for 'fat'. So an anorexic girl weighing 5 stone can be fat if she feels like she is. Because it maintains its former meaning of 'overweight' but discards it at the same time meaning any old skeleton can be fat. It's a very dishonest and stupid way of using language.

IAmAmy Tue 04-Apr-17 18:09:32

The cat next door has started identifying as a mouse. I heard all the mice run away as soon as the cat tries to get in their place under the shed, they're such bigoted CERMs. Can't they understand the mousecat needs to enter their space as they won't be safe with other cats?

Datun Tue 04-Apr-17 18:12:51

Second answer: "If you give any definition of a woman, there are people who you could identify as "a woman" and who anyone on the street would say - "That's a woman" - and they would not fit that definition"

So what definition would apply to th....oh, I can't be arsed.

Lottapianos Tue 04-Apr-17 18:16:51

I might start identifying as a cat. That could be fun - lie around all day, go everywhere at my own pace, suit myself at all times. I'm terrified of mice though. On reflection I would be a shit cat

Empress, spot on about the distinct lack of hand wringing about the definition of a man

ATailofTwoKitties Tue 04-Apr-17 18:28:05

It shall now be known as woman and not tree

I seem to remember, from a botany book ages back, that it's quite hard to define a tree. 'Oh, come on, you know it's a tree if it's big and tree-y, or small but still sort of like a tree anyway' seemed to be the idea.

Sorry, I'll close the door quietly.

Datun Tue 04-Apr-17 18:37:03

"If a man speaks in a forest and no one hears him, is he still wrong?"

Depends on whether the trees have identified as having aural capability.

IAmAmy Tue 04-Apr-17 18:44:55

I started identifying as a cat some time ago - I expect to be able to come and go as I please from the house without anyone questioning me, be provided with food on demand by its owners and have any seat I wish to utilise be vacated immediately. No-one has yet validated my true identity. CERFs.

SomeDyke Tue 04-Apr-17 18:47:23

"I seem to remember, from a botany book ages back, that it's quite hard to define a tree. "
I seem to recall that even trees themselves have a surprising amount of genetic shenanigans going on. Sex/species all get complicated, then with cloning and rootstock/scion grafting, even worse again.........

I prefer the pragmatic -- if you can climb it (or hang baubles on it), it's probably a tree. Otherwise bush/shrub/small tree. Or the gardening specific -- if it needs the BIG lopers, it's a tree, if the secateurs will do the job, it's a bush.......................(except some bushes need the nail scissors! smile I could hang baubles on mine at the moment, frankly................).

BetsyM00 Tue 04-Apr-17 18:59:07

SomeDyke Are you now defining a woman as by being able to hang baubles on her bush grin

PoochSmooch Tue 04-Apr-17 19:17:59

Second answer: "If you give any definition of a woman, there are people who you could identify as "a woman" and who anyone on the street would say - "That's a woman" - and they would not fit that definition"

Wow. I know all these words. They're all arranged into sentences. There is a sort of sequence to the sentences, as if they contained a proposition.The sentences have some punctuation.

And yet the whole is utterly devoid of any actual meaning. That is almost impressive confused

Datun Tue 04-Apr-17 19:21:10

PoochSmooch

And it's a big welcome from trans land. No nouns have any meaning other than the ones I want them to have.

elQuintoConyo Tue 04-Apr-17 19:24:42

Nothing to add but i am laughing my tits off - sorry, i mean chest off!

PoochSmooch Tue 04-Apr-17 19:28:46

Now, datun, would those nouns identify as masculine or feminine?

It's important. Le or la? el or la? Der, die or das? Dare you assume?!

IAmAmy Tue 04-Apr-17 19:30:40

I am he as you are he as he is she as we are all transgender.

Datun Tue 04-Apr-17 19:58:36

PoochSmooch

Head explodes. Anyone know what transwoman is in French? Is it masculine or feminine?

PoochSmooch Tue 04-Apr-17 20:24:31

Transgender is "le transgénérisme", ie masculine. Quel surpris - masculine linguistic dominance is one of my French pet peeves (French is my second language).

I don't think there's quite such language fuckery being inflicted in French as there is in English, but it is also a minefield. I will come back to this later as I have to push off just now, but it is interesting (to a language geek anyway!) how these things differ across languages.

Now how it all works in Arabic, where everything you say is conjugated differently depending on the sex of the person you're talking to, I have no idea! For example, if you're saying "how are you?" then you say "kayfa halluka" to a man, but "kayfa halluki" to a woman. What do you say to someone transgender? All fascinating. Will come back to this tomorrow.

MariafromMalmo Tue 04-Apr-17 20:52:48

But even the "identify" definition has nothing to it.
What does a "man" or a "woman" identify with that separates one from the other. Other "identity" type statements have something Behind them: e.g. Christian/Atheist, Sporty/Not sporty, Left/Right. If "man" has no meaning other than as a label without substance (I.e. That it has less to it than "I identify as a Man Utd supporter)... well what is the point, of what is happening?

whoputthecatout Tue 04-Apr-17 21:12:56

Second answer: "If you give any definition of a woman, there are people who you could identify as "a woman" and who anyone on the street would say - "That's a woman" - and they would not fit that definition"

That reminds me of the rather ancient Eric Morecombe/Andre Previn sketch at the piano. "I am playing the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order."

annandale Tue 04-Apr-17 21:15:20

'Woman' is not socially constructed and there are no 'people' who say that 'it' is.

Bue Tue 04-Apr-17 21:26:08

It's as nonsensical as me declaring that I typing this post on my hippopotamus.

SomeDyke Tue 04-Apr-17 21:33:10

"SomeDyke Are you now defining a woman as by being able to hang baubles on her bush "

And a gay man would (of course) need to hang baubles and fairy lights on his.................

My, next Christmas is going to be an eye-popper at our house! grin

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